Weekend Guide to Makassar
Move over, Bali, there’s a new vacay hotspot in town. Meet Makassar, a coastal city that offers the best of both worlds: the convenience and connectivity of a modern metropolis, and a memorable share of hidden gems and history.
Do: Nature, Sea, Nostalgia
An hour’s car ride will take you to neighbouring Maros, a town known for its gorgeous landscapes. A boat ride costing Rp.150,000 from Salenrang takes you to Rammang-Rammang, a hidden village surrounded by karst hills and mangroves. Maros is also home to the Bantimurung Falls and Butterfly Park, and the prehistoric wall paintings at the Leang-Leang cave.
Dusun Rammang-Rammang, Desa Salenrang, Kecamatan Bontoa, Kabupaten Maros.
Bantimurung, Jl. Poros Maros-Bone Km.12, Kecamatan Bantimurung, Kabupaten Maros, p. +62 411 388 0252.
Leang-Leang, Kelurahan Kalabira, Kecamatan Bantimurung, Kabupaten Maros.
The sea is an important part of Makassar’s story. The sidewalk of the iconic Losari Beach offers delightful sunsets. It is also near other important landmarks like Fort Rotterdam and the Masjid 99 Al-Makazzary floating mosque. Take a bentor (motorized pedicab) to Paotere harbour and see the elegant phinisi schooners. On a clear day, cross over to Samalona, a nearby white sandy island with crystal blue beaches and coral reefs.
Losari Beach, Jl. Penghibur, Pusat Kota Makassar.
Fort Rotterdam and Museum La Galigo, Jl. Ujung Pandang No. 2, Pusat Kota Makassar, p. +62 813 5504 5388 (Guide: Pak Muchtar).
Masjid 99 Al-Makazzary, Jl. Penghibur, Pusat Kota Makassar.
Pelabuhan Paotere, Jl. Sabutung, Pusat Kota Makassar.
Samalona island, cross over from Dermaga Bangkoa near Losari, Rp. 400,000-800,000 per boat (can be shared between 2-8 passengers).
And what’s a great city without history? The Sultanate of Makassar was established in 1528, when twin kingdoms Gowa and Tallo united. Its palace today, known as Balla Lompoa in Gowa city, flaunts the grace of classical Makassarese architecture. After Eid’ul Adha (15 October in 2013) there is the annual ceremony for washing the crown jewels and royal armour.
Balla Lompoa, Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin No. 48, Sungguminasa, Somba Opu, Gowa, p. +62 411 867 775.
If you have the time, don’t miss a trip to Tana Toraja! The Torajans are a highland-dwelling ethnic group who still practices elaborate ancient funeral rituals rooted in indigenous ancestral worship and delicately intertwined with Christianity. Their culture, architecture, traditional dress and language are quite distinct from the Bugis, the majority ethnic group in the rest of South Sulawesi. Tana Toraja is best visited in August and December when there are cultural festivals. Its main cities Makale and Rantepao are about 6 to 8 hours drive from Makassar, or a short flight away.
Image: Arian Zwegers
Eat: Red meat, banana custard, and eggnog
Makassar natives start their day with coto, a herbal beef soup eaten with ketupat rice dumplings. You can choose between coto daging—meat only—and coto campur, which includes offal.
Warung Coto Ranggong, Jl. Ranggong No. 13, Makassar, p. +62 411 319 509.
Warung Coto Gagak, Jl. Gagak No. 27, Makassar, p. +62411 870 800.
Nasu palekko, a dish of shredded duck in hot chili, will make you sweat. Served with steamed rice and pickled vegetables.
Nasu Palekko, 1st floor Panakukkang Square, Jl. Adiyaksa Baru No.1, Makassar, p.+62 813 5546 9196.
Adventurous eaters can try the konro kuda, a spicy horse rib stew cooked to tender perfection. It’s a delicacy of Jeneponto, a salt mining town 2 hours south of Makassar.
Coto & Konro Kuda, Lapak K-5, Warung Tenda Jl. Sultan Alauddin, Makassar.
For dessert, try es pisang ijo, green banana dumplings over cold rice flour custard, red syrup, and ice. In Losari, ask a street hawker for pisang epe, grilled bananas in aromatic durian-based custard.
Es Pisang Ijo Warung Bravo, Jl. Andalas No.154, Makassar.
Late night downtown? Warm yourself with a cup of sarabba, a ginger brew with brown sugar, coconut milk, and pepper. For extra oomph, ask for sarabba telor, which includes the yolk of chicken, duck, or quail egg. The beverage is believed to boost immunity, soothe aching muscles, and cure headaches and stomach bugs.
Sarabba Gigi Café, Jl. Pengayoman No.3, Panakukkang, Makassar, p.+62 411 448 372.
Grand Clarion, Jl. A. P. Pettarani No.3, Pusat Kota Makassar, p. +62 411 833 888.
Makassar Golden, Jl. Pasar Ikan No.52, Pusat Kota Makassar, p. +62 411 363 3000.
Hotel Aryaduta, Jl Somba Opu No. 297, Losari, Makassar, p. +62 411 870 555.
If you’re looking for more value for money, the Kanaka Giana Hotel offers clean, minimalistic rooms. It is a 10-minute drive away from the airport, with easy access to Bantimurung. In the city centre, you can stay at Hotel Yasmin, an old-fashioned but comfortable hotel with friendly staff.
For those on a tighter budget, Losmen Semeru’s airconditioned rooms come with spring beds and private baths for a mere Rp.80,000 per night. Alternatively, a backpackers’ hostel popular among international travellers is New Legend, with single and dormitory options under Rp.100,000, and larger rooms for less than Rp.200,000. Both offer easy access to Losari and Chinatown.
Losmen Semeru, Jl. Jampea No.28, Pusat Kota Makassar, p.+62 411 318 113.
New Legend, Jl. Jampea No.5G, Pusat Kota Makassar, p.+62 411 361 3777.
Make sure you have plenty of room in your suitcase to bring home lots of exotic souvenirs like tenun Bugis textiles, miniature boats, or Makassar’s famous passionfruit syrup.
Thanks to our friends at AirAsia, we took the 1045am flight to Makassar. Why limit yourself to just Makassar? Explore more destinations with AirAsia’s handy downloadable guide to Indonesia. It’s free!
This travel guide was brought to you by AirAsia.